You may be in for a shock
I often hear Americans claim that their country is the best in the world, but is that really the case? New York City is one of my favorite places in the world, so there is definitely a lot to love about America. But the best? Not so fast.
I dug into the data more for fun than anything else, so don’t get too upset if you’re an American.
This also isn’t any sort of scientific study. I picked some categories at random and used Google search to find the answers. Due to the nature of the data, it will never be perfect. It can, however, give us a realistic overview of how America compares to other countries.
The categories I decided on are wealth, healthcare, education, democracy, freedom, and financial secrecy.
Wealth (26th out of 168 countries)
According to this Wikipedia article, North America (the US and Canada) has the highest median and average wealth when compared to Europe, China, Asia Pacific (excluding India and China), Latin America, India, and Africa.
The median wealth per adult is $82,539 and the average is $486,930. Europe comes second with $26,423 and $174, 836 respectively.
But hold your horses. While North America is way ahead as a region, it’s not doing so well as a country.
Based on country, the US is 26th out of 168 countries.
The wealthiest country per capita is Luxembourg. It has a median wealth of $259,899 and a mean wealth of $477,306.
For the US, the figures are $79,274 and $505,421. The US has more average wealth, but equality is not so great. Most Western European countries are wealthier per capita than the US when using median wealth figures.
Healthcare (18th out of 167 countries)
For this data, I used the World Population Review site. The website considers the following factors when ranking countries:
The quality of healthcare is determined by considering a wide range of factors, including the care process (preventative care measures, safe care, coordinated care, and engagement and patient preferences), access (affordability and timeliness), administrative efficiency, equity, and healthcare outcomes (population health, mortality amenable to healthcare, and disease-specific health outcomes).
According to this site, the top 5 countries in the world for healthcare are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland. That’s almost a clean sweep for Nordic countries.
The US comes in at number 18 out of 167 countries. Not too bad, but certainly not the best.
It’s in the healthcare category that I hear many Americans claim they are the best in the world.
Education (14th out of 65 countries/regions)
The education results are taken from the latest Pisa study by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
I’ve taken the results from a Guardian article, as it gives a good overview.
Students were assessed on reading, math, and science. The average scores across all countries were 493 for reading, 496 for math, and 501 for science.
The US scored 500, 487, and 502 respectively.
That means that the US was above average for reading and science, and below average for math.
Overall, the US was placed 14th out of 65 countries/regions.
Top scores in all categories went to Shanghai, with 556, 600, and 575 respectively. That should be a real eye-opener. It shows why China is currently challenging the US so strongly. Hong Kong also scored well, but there wasn’t any score for China as a whole. I would guess that they wouldn’t do so well in most of the country.
Democracy (36th out of 176 countries)
For this category, I used the Democracy Matrix website.
The US is always thought of as a leader in world democracy, so let’s see if that’s really the case.
The top 5 countries for democracy are Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Germany.
Just as with the healthcare category, the Nordic countries are doing extremely well.
So, where is the United States on the list?
It’s languishing at position 36. The website describes it as a “Deficient Democracy”.
The bottom 5 countries are Eritrea, North Korea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and China. No surprises there.
Freedom (15th out of 165 countries)
This data is from the World Population Review website.
12 categories of human freedom were included, as follows:
Rule of Law
Security and Safety
Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
Expression and Information
Identity and Relationships
Size of Government
Legal System and Property Rights
Access to Sound Money
Freedom to Trade Internationally
The top 5 countries in this category were Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Estonia, and Ireland.
The United States came in at number 15 out of 165 countries.
Overall Best Countries (6th out of 78 countries)
This is a separate survey that isn’t based on the categories mentioned above. There are other important aspects to living in a country that I haven’t covered above.
These results are from the US News website. Out of 78 countries, the top 5 are Canada, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia.
The US comes in at a very respectable 6th.
The United States is Number 1 in the following category
The US finally made it to the top spot. Time for all you Americans to start celebrating.
This story was published in the Daily Mail newspaper. It says:
The United States has ranked first — and worst — in a global ranking for countries which provide financial secrecy to dictators, oligarchs, organized criminals and wealthy tax dodgers.
The results are taken from The Financial Secrecy Index 2022.
So, there you have it. I think we can conclude that the US doesn’t do too badly overall, but it’s certainly not the best country in the world, as many Americans claim.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.